Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported of acquisition talks between Comcast and DreamWorks Animation. As of this morning, it was confirmed that the cable company would be gearing up for a more animation-heavy future after the deal had been approved by both boards of directors.
In an effort to become more family friendly, the mass media company's NBCUniversal division took the DreamWorks Animation house under its wing for a whopping $3.8 billion. While the price tag might seem staggering at first glance, it still falls short of Disney's $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar back in 2006.
Speaking of Disney and Pixar, there has been little competition for the animation juggernaut over the years. While DreamWorks has offered up some critically acclaimed titles including Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and the Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, it's tough to hold a candle to Disney and Pixar's countless award nominations and 15 Oscar wins.
But considering the up-and-coming Illumination Entertainment — best known for the Despicable Me films and Minions spinoff, as well as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax and the upcoming The Secret Life of Pets — is also housed under the NBCUniversal umbrella, their combined creative efforts might just give Disney a run for its money.
Contrary to earlier reports, Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks CEO who co-founded the company with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, won't be exiting DreamWorks, but will act as consultant as well as the chairman of DreamWorks New Media, according to TechCrunch. In a statement, Katzenberg said:
“Having spent the past two decades working together with our team to build DreamWorks Animation into one of the world’s most beloved brands, I am proud to say that NBCUniversal is the perfect home for our company.”
NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke reiterated similar enthusiasm for the acquisition in a release reading:
"DreamWorks Animation is a great addition to NBCUniversal. Jeffrey Katzenberg and the DreamWorks organization have created a dynamic film brand and a deep library of intellectual property.
"The prospects for our future together are tremendous. We are fortunate to have Illumination founder Chris Meledandri to help guide the growth of the DreamWorks Animation business in the future.”
If you're not already excited at the prospect of DreamWorks and Comcast working together, maybe the idea of a Minions/Shrek crossover will do the trick. Not to say that would ever happen, but dammit, we can only hope.